PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There’s play-by-play for a football game, so why don’t Election Day polls get the same treatment? It’s a loaded question, but a startup founded by a Bala Cynwyd man isn’t waiting for any more debate.
It’s a decades-old tradition: news organizations, not wanting to affect turnout, refrain from reporting early election results until after the polls close.
“On November 8, that’s going to change, and we think it’s going to change forever,” said Ken Smuckler, founder of VoteCastr. “We will essentially become the play-by-play of the presidential and targeted senate elections.”
Smukler says people deserve access to real-time voting information: who’s leading and by what margin. That’s what VoteCastr aims to provide, by comparing surveys, past results, and turnout models to who’s actually showing up on Election Day.
The company will project who’s winning hotly-contested races — including Toomey-McGinty in Pennsylvania — in real-time, throughout Election Day, on Slate.com.
“Particularly if you live in Pennsylvania or any other battleground state, you won’t just be able to see who’s winning and losing statewide — you’ll be able to see who’s winning and losing countywide,” he said. “You’ll even be able to drill down to precinct level.”
VoteCastr crunches data from past races, current voter surveys, and field reports on turnout from hundreds of precincts to make its predictions. But could it suppress turnout, keeping people from casting a ballot if their candidate looks well ahead or behind? Smukler says no: it’s all about empowering the voter with information.
“You will engage and energize voters when they actually see the game being played,” he said. “They actually understand — particularly those who are living in a battleground state — just how important their vote is.”